The 94th Annual Academy Awards: according to me

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The Oscars would have been more successful this year if Rosary girls ran it. (Photo taken from Google Images via Creative Commons License)

Anna DiCrisi, Staff Writer

And finally, an Academy Award that “Dune” cannot possibly win:

Most out-of-touch and off-the-mark awards show of recent years.

And the Oscar goes to…

The 94th Annual Academy Awards aired live on Sunday night; in my opinion, this show of affluence and its effects of entitlement were clearer than ever, and it left a very bad taste in both my mouth and those of viewers nationwide.

Before confronting the more disappointing parts of the evening, there are a few things I must address:

There were moments of this show that exhibited the highest amount of class and grace and all the beauty that a true celebration of art should be. The performances of the nominees for Best Original Song, specifically “Dos Oruguitas” from “Encanto” brought tears to my eyes. Bringing legends like Liza Minnelli back on stage to present Best Picture was a moving choice. The way that the geniuses behind the movie “CODA” stood as a voice for the deaf community through both their movie and their interpreted speeches was a beautiful moment for Hollywood.

I felt as if the audience was in tune, responsive, and happy to be there. I will not be addressing the altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock because I believe that situation was unprompted, unapproved by the Academy, and most of alla reflection of their individual characters and not of the show as a whole. 

The Oscars have always had a love/hate relationship with sensibility. On paper, it would make sense that an exploration of the year’s best artistic minds and performances would be a reverent and widely adored event. However, with the age of social media, these celebrated people have gained more and more influence as years go by. And oh, God, do they know it.

As the patrons walked the red carpet decked in millions of dollars of jewels and satin, they begged the cameras to aid those suffering from war and violence.

Don’t get me wrong— part of me loves the extravagance. I think it a wonderful piece of art in itself; however, the hypocrisy that comes along with it is not as appealing.

These celebrities weave their political opinions into their interviews like it’s an inherited craft. We’ve reverted to a caste system, but our ranks are determined by followers and cameras rather than by birth. Now, I can’t speak for these men and women, not like they can for others. I don’t have the intelligence that their careers have brought them. I cower in the face of their profound political parlance: they deserve more say that I have.

The night opened with a firecracker of political jokes about diversity, gender discrimination, divisive opinions, and homophobia. One after the other, the attitude of the hosts made it seem like they were the only ones with the rights and IQ to give their thoughts on these controversial issues. The cavalier repetition of humor seemed tasteless and offensive; and anyone who disagreed with them was not given an outlet to explain themselves. As a society, we have allowed for people who spout facts and incriminating opinions on live TV to speak for us. Thousands of uneducated people, sitting at home mindlessly nodding their heads, are indoctrinated into the church of celebrity worshiping.

There were many exceedingly uncomfortable moments that were hard to sit through. Regina Hall started a bit where she called the single men on stage and joked that they had to be alone with her for a COVID test. It began as a harmless skit, but it went too far when she started feeling their legs and literally groping the lower halves of their bodies to search for the imaginary illness. This act of objectification isn’t funny: it sets feminism back about thirty years. If the roles were reversed, there would be people campaigning for the offender to be behind bars. While women have worked incredibly hard to earn something they should already have—respect and privacy—this indifferent stance towards inappropriate touching and sexualization invalidates the efforts of billions of women.

A final criticism goes out to the show’s treatment of the war in Ukraine. An obviously heartbreaking event, I was wondering how they were going to address it with their platform. Ukraine was mentioned prominently three times, and all three were insensitive and poorly written.

First, the show decided to host a moment of silence for all those suffering as a result of the war. While this seems respectful on the surface, think about the insane amount of political nonsense and passionate claims that are said at the Oscars. With all the pushes for activism, the only thing they could do about Ukraine was to…not say anything about it? As much as I do not agree with celebrities pushing controversial opinions, using an obviously influential platform to literally stay silent in the face of hardship seems incredibly wrong. Secondly, Ukrainian actress Mila Kunis vaguely addressed the war as “recent global events” with no further detail or discussion. This mention seemed much more like an ever-so-slightly insulting afterthought instead of a moral stand.

The moment that irked me the most throughout the entire night was one of Amy Schumer’s off-the-cuff comments towards the end of the night. After recognizing Samuel L. Jackson’s amazing career with an Academy Honorary Award, she looked at the camera after the applause died down and said something along the lines of, “We appreciate and celebrate everything you have accomplished and are so proud of you…while genocide is happening in Ukraine and women and trans people are losing their rights everyday.” She smiled and then the camera cut to another scene for the next award. As I heard this statement, I realized that she must have absolutely no common sense. I was infuriated that she was mocking a celebration that she was quite literally the face of. I think the Oscars should have promoted aid in Ukraine a lot more than they did, but this backhanded show of arrogance was the complete opposite of that. It was a comment that felt like it was supposed to make a splash—like we were meant to feel immediately ashamed by the comedian telling us we were all very, very bad people. For me, not only did that statement feel completely hypocritical, but it was also incredibly tone-deaf. What school did she go to that made her think that a successful argument was a blanket statement that solely evoked guilt without explanation? Who taught this woman AP Lang?

It felt rushed, insulting, and so so so condescending. And it pretty much summed up the entire awards show.

While I can’t tell if the people present at the Oscars hate themselves for their complete lack of concern about genocide or are too obsessed with themselves to care, they tore apart every true accomplishment in film this year. A surplus of communities were represented beautifully at the Academy Awards this year, and the films that took home the recognitions were deserving in every way. And I feel so sorry that the celebratory night was not representative of their talents and passion.